While you’re at university, you have access to all that Warwick offers including the library, lecturers, your personal tutor and beyond! So when you travel home in between terms, it may be a little daunting to be leaving all of that behind. But fear not, distance learning is definitely possible and here are some suggestions on how to do so effectively… by Ciara Brodie
Using alternative libraries
There is a fantastic scheme called SCONUL which allows students and staff from associated Universities and Colleges to access other University libraries. You can find out more about this scheme in this study blog post. If you find there’s too many distractions back at home with your friends and family, this is a great way to maintain focus while you work on essays over the break. It also means that you can enjoy your time at home and separate your work and play by having a separate place to study. If you’re not near another University, find your local library instead. These are free and easy to use, you just need to sign up – check your local council’s website for more information.
Get organised throughout term
During the first break of my first year, I insisted that my parents come to collect me because I ‘needed’ to bring all of my books and folders home with me. The reality was that I didn’t, I just had no idea how to effectively study at home! If anything, having so many books and folders at home just stressed me out and made me feel like I had more to do than was actually the case. Instead, it’s a good idea to digitize as much as you can. This means that you can organise and group your notes digitally, and also you don’t run the risk of losing important papers. Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and other cloud platforms are brilliant for organising your files. If you store your files on your laptop, make sure you back them up! There are lots of cloud options for this and the University also offers a free backup software.
As for books and reading, you can often find pdf versions of important textbooks online on Encore. This is brilliant for when you’re travelling home. Additionally, it can be much easier to find information within an online textbook by using the control + F function.
Remember that your tutors may still be available
Office hours and small seminar groups are a brilliant resource while you’re on campus to pick the brains of your tutors and raise any questions that you may have. However, while your away from university don’t be afraid to contact your tutors with any questions you may have. I have Skyped one of my tutors in the holidays before in order to plan an essay. It was extremely helpful, and he was more than happy to facilitate this for me. If they have availability, they are happy to help you. Just don’t be afraid to ask!
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